You can find the judge in his chambers

The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore County Circuit Judge Lawrence Daniels left home last month for reasons that are nobody's business but his own. But he took up residence someplace that might be a legitimate concern for anybody in the county: the courthouse.

"I did sleep in my chambers," Daniels said yesterday.

Having a public official live, even temporarily, in a public building is out of the ordinary, Daniels acknowledged.

"This is going to seem somewhat unusual," Daniels recalled thinking to himself when he moved in. But then, "I remembered congressmen often sleep in their offices."

The building has shower facilities, and there are a microwave and fridge in Daniels' chambers.

"It was really like moving back into a college dorm," said Daniels, who has since moved in with a friend in Middle River.

Did the janitors ever spot Hizzoner padding to and from the shower in slippers and robe?

"I made sure I was discreet in my appearances," he said. "I didn't want to become the phantom of the courthouse."

Administrative Judge John Turnbull said Daniels' stay was news to him.

"It's a big courthouse," he said.

Turnbull wasn't aware of any rules against judges living in their chambers, and said he would not object to someone doing so on a temporary basis. While Turnbull never moved in, he did rely on the courthouse showers after a hurricane a few years ago.

"I lost electricity at home for two days," he said. "I'd come in here at 6:30 in the morning and shower and shave to look presentable in court."

O'Malley as Napoleon, Venus as kitsch

The last governor's official portrait isn't done yet, but there's already a painting of the new guy up on the mansion walls.

And yes, Martin O'Malley is on horseback. Not to mention decked out in a military get-up from the era of Napoleon.

Barbara Curran painted her son-in-law dressed up as an 1814 Maryland militiaman, which he liked to impersonate as mayor on Defenders' Day. He's atop a horse with son William.

The painting would surely delight O'Malley fans and detractors alike. But they can't see it. It's in William's room in Government House.

While Curran's macho-politico oeuvre is out of public view, anyone can get a look at her intensely frilly collages. They're on display at Mount Vernon's Koffee Therapy through the middle of next week, when a two-month exhibit concludes.

One piece features a cut-out of Botticelli's Venus, adorned with sparkly faux jewels, a scrap of leopard-print fabric, poofy cabbage roses, Cupids and other "found" objects. Price: $2,800.

A longtime student at the Schuler School of Fine Arts, Curran usually copies old masters but decided to make the collages with a friend, Lovey Young, widow of the late Colts coach and NFL exec George Young.

"It's kind of boudoir. I really enjoy it," cafe owner Ric Carter said. "She's used some classical images, yet she has all this found jewelry and flowers applied to it. It's very classical and formal but she makes it fun by bringing these strange details to it. ... She's gilding the lily."

Maryland's first mother-in-law was too much on the run - picking the O'Malley kids up from school, among other things - to chat about her art. But her husband was free to discuss it.

As it turns out, Maryland's longest-serving attorney general had a hand in the collages. Some of the pictures are in unusual, three-part folding frames, which held mirrors when the artists discovered them at flea markets. Joe Curran himself was enlisted to remove the mirrors.

Several of the collages at the cafe have sold, which was good news to the former AG.

"You can just store so many in your house," he said. "You want to sell them or get them on somebody's wall."

Um, fellows, you might brush up on state names

Memo to National Spelling Bee organizers, the folks who crush the psyches of America's whiz kids by asking them to sound out the obscurest words in the dictionary on national TV: It's M-a-r-y-l-a-n-d. Not M-a-r-y-a-l-n-d, as you wrote on the placard that Baltimore's David Brokaw wore around his neck in competition this week.

They also misspelled Virginia as "Virgina."

"Clearly that was a discomforting faux pas," said Mark W. Kroeger, director of communications for E.W. Scripps, the company that sponsors the national bee. "Our apologies to Maryland and to the commonwealth of Virginia."

Kroeger also told The Sun's Jill Rosen: "The only other thing we can add beyond that is, 'Ping.'"

"Ping" was Kroeger's best imitation of the bell that sounds when spellers miss a word.

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